In an ugly contest between two struggling programs, Stanford softball (12-14, 0-3 Pac-12) stumbled to a 4-1 win against crosstown foe Santa Clara (5-29), despite sloppy offensive play throughout the game.
Although the Cardinal now inch closer to the .500 mark on the season, Stanford once again underwhelmed, even against a Broncos team that has seen little success this season. Although eight different Cardinal players got a hit, Stanford also left eight runners on base. Even with the bases loaded and zero outs in the fifth, the next three Cardinal batters were retired, leaving three runners stranded on base.
The Broncos, who continue the downward tumble that this season has been for them, did jump out to a surprising first-inning lead behind a single from freshman outfielder Anna Yates and double from sophomore outfielder Justine Garner. After the first-inning offensive success, however, the Bronco bats could not bring more runners home, despite earning seven hits on the day.
Santa Clara’s usual offensive weapon, senior infielder Cassandra Padilla, went cold on the plate, striking out twice on the night and leaving three runners on base throughout the game. In each of their five wins on the season, Padilla produced more than one hit for the Broncos, who evidently rely on her offensive production for success.
On the other side, the Cardinal offense showed a glimpse of its potential throughout the game. Even through sloppy play as a team offensively, utility senior Kayla Bonstrom had herself a solid night at the plate, going 2-4 and bringing in an RBI off of a third-inning double.
For the Stanford defense, sophomore pitcher Haley Snyder earned her sixth win on the season to even her own record at 6-6, pitching a complete game and striking out six batters on the night.
In her post-game comments, Snyder said, “It was great to get the team win today. It was a total team effort. We had hits up and down the lineup.”
Snyder’s complete game against Santa Clara positions Stanford’s ace on this season, freshman right-hander Carolyn Lee, for the start against conference-opponent Oregon State (21-9-1, 1-5). This upcoming weekend series – the first home conference series of the season – will provide a solid test for the Cardinal against another lower-level Pac-12 opponent.
Despite their significantly better record overall, the Beavers come to Stanford after dropping a series to a much stronger Berkeley team this past weekend. With the two losses against the Golden Bears, the Beavers now own a 1-5 record in conference play and look significantly weaker than before.
The Cardinal should not take this Oregon State team lightly, however. The Beavers own the third-best batting average and the fourth-best total runs scored in the Pac-12, powered by a stout offensive lineup. Nine Beaver players have averaged above .300 on the season so far, and sophomore infielder McKenna Arriola leads the Beavers’ power offense with her .410 batting average and league runner-up 44 hits on the season.
For the Cardinal to shine in this series, the Stanford rotation must perform on another level to stop the Beavers’ offense. If Stanford can prevent an Oregon State offensive explosion, the Cardinal can capitalize on the offensive momentum from the Santa Clara game in order to get their first conference win of the season.
The series will kick off on Friday at Stanford at 7:00 p.m.
Contact Lorenzo Rosas at [email protected].